I smell the fear on your vinyl briefcase
as across the table like Captain Cook
you pity the poor natives.
Your backdoor agenda and verbal pyrotechnology’s
a front for the urgency to move onto lunch,
the bottom line, where you will be free
of the irritation of our disagreement.
Snake on a ladder, you have all the answers
before the questions are put, and if I resist
and say ‘what about this?’ I’ll be hived off.
You want your lunch and I have a hunch
you’ll have your way no matter what I say,
top down, bottoms up.
I’m not here for a handout, just some of our taxes back.
You have your priorities sent down the line
(I’ll scratch your back if you stab mine),
keeping the upper hand for the mortgage’s sake,
your PS perks and old boy lurks building
a superstructure of barbies and kids on Sunday
with the Director and the man on the next rung,
top down, bottoms up,
drinking and laughing about idealists
who’d like to step over your head.
I wonder if you hear us at all,
while unseen in the community
quiet synergy turns the wheels eventually,
Obama’s use of demographic scare-mongering indicates an acceptance of the fundamentally racist view that the mere existence of certain categories of humans (in this case non-Jewish Palestinians) in a country is unacceptable and dangerous – even if they or their parents or grandparents were born in that country. Palestinians “west of the Jordan River” are not interlopers or intruders. They are indigenous people of the country. Instead of searching for ways for Israel to escape them by gerrymandering a bantustan, Obama should be calling for full and equal rights, nothing less.
Israel is not supported by the Australian state (and Western powers) because of strong Israel lobbies in these countries or because politicians simply are misinformed and can do with a bit more reading. Unfortunately, they are informed all too-well and choose to support Israel regardless of its human rights violations. Israel serves a fundamental role as a pillar of support for western hegemony over the Middle East. Understanding this allows us to shift our longer-term Palestine solidarity organizing from lobbying politicians on an individual basis and writing letters to the media, to actually taking on the harder work of building a mass movement that targets the very economic and political connections that allow apartheid to continue. The strategic demands of boycott, divestment, and sanctions that we put forward target the powerful economic and ideological ties between North American, European, and Australian capital and apartheid Israel.
The rationale to “intervene” was that child abuse among Aborigines was in “unthinkable numbers”. This was a fraud. Out of 7 433 Aboriginal children examined by doctors, four possible cases were identified. This is about the rate of child abuse in white Australia. What this covered was an old-fashioned colonial grab of mineral-rich land in the Northern Territory where Aboriginal land rights were granted in 1976.
The Murdoch press has been the most lurid and vociferous in its promotion of the “intervention”, which a United Nations special rapporteur has condemned for its racial discrimination. Once again, Australian politicians are dispossessing the first inhabitants, demanding leasehold of land in return for health and education rights that whites take for granted and driving them into “economically viable hubs” where they will be effectively detained – a form of apartheid.
The outrage and despair of most Aboriginal people is not heard. For using her institutional voice and exposing the government’s black supporters, Larissa Behrendt has been subjected to a vicious campaign of innuendo in the Murdoch press, including the implication that she is not a “real” Aborigine. Using the language of its soulmate the London Sun, the Australian derides the “abstract debate” of “land rights, apologies, treaties” as a “moralising mumbo-jumbo spreading like a virus”. The aim is to silence those who dare tell Australia’s dirty secret.
And here are my notes, scattered widdershins in the detritus of a surly Friday afternoon after wasting good dreamtime in today’s early hours to listen to Obama’s imperious snake oil salesmanship live. His neocolonisation of history and efforts to turn Arab spring into neoliberal winter were impressively transparent. With seductive offers of finance infrastructure and job creation, Enterprise Funds and ‘a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa;, Obama sounded more interventionist than any neocon.
Did you appreciate how Obama took oil exports out of the equation? ‘If you take out oil exports, this region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as Switzerland.’ That’s US oil he’s talking about. It will pay for the sleazy neoliberal debt dependency structures he was touting and of course maintain existing US/EU arms sales to the region which are calibrated by Israel’s US congressionally legislated, guaranteed Qualitative Military Edge.
This had to be the most ironic line: ‘Prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress – the corruption of elites who steal from their people’. Ahem. Wall Street? Goldman Sachs, Enron, Kellogg Root, Halliburton, Blackwater … plenty to be working on back home, Obama.
Obama on Palestine
Obama: ‘Palestinians have walked away from talks.’ Well, Obama, you failed to put your professedly impotent foot down on settlement activity, what do you think Palestinians should do about the theft of their land?
Obama: ‘For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.’
Israel is doing the lion’s share of delegitimising itself through its criminal atrocities. Obama’s unctuous moral vacuity is suited to a sycophantic AIPAC audience, not to people in the ME.
Obama: ‘We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders — whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran. ‘ BUT NOT IN PALESTINE OR ISRAEL. Does he even comprehend his moral hypocrisy?
Obama: ‘Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and respect for the rights of minorities.’ Except when the minorities are Palestinians in Israel.
Again, Obama declared fake US impotence as a peacemaker between Israel and Palestinians, instead supporting Nutanyahoo’s disgraceful de-militarised bantustan plan, though not IDF presence in the Jordan Valley.
Obama: ‘As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself — by itself — against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.’
Obama: ‘But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.’
Obama is assenting to Lieberman’s sinister interim plan. Israel gets the territory and the security. Palestinians get a de-militarised, defenceless bantustan. That’s fair?
How can a ‘sovereign’ state not have the right to defend itself against a monstrous predator neighbour, whose representative, Danny Danon, the very morning of Obama’s speech trumpeted Israel’s incipient genocidal intent?
For the US, ongoing division between Palestinians and Israelis works out well in a regional context. It keeps Israel weak. A combined Palestinian/Israeli entity would have the potential to challenge US regional power. So Obama can pretend to have his hands tied by the nasty Israel lobby, and still blither sleazily about universal human rights and fake sovereignty for Palestinians which are really both sacrificed for the shibboleth of Israeli ‘security’. So the ‘peace process’ masquerade continues to be insulated by the hegemon, enabling more happy years of land theft and genocide by Israel.
The interests of the ruling US and zioelite are complementary. Obama can throw his hands up and say the US is unable to impose a solution, and absolve himself from promoting justice or human rights for Palestinians – the cognitive dissonance between professed US values and practice is the same old hypocrisy of empire, which pretends nobility whilst exploiting vulnerable people to serve its own ‘interests’ (read interests of its ruling elite and cronies).
Obama: ‘That is the choice that must be made — not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region — a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future’.
Obama, Amerikkka and Israel are shackled by the past, they are the shackles of the past and present, and offer no promise except that of more shackles – of neoliberal debt and oppression. No choice there, so I choose to hope that sufficient people see through the obnoxious fascist and imperialist rhetoric to the present need for resistance to tyranny and imperialism. Yes, Obama, ‘tyranny does fall’, and so will Israel and Amerikkka. Your words are drivel from an empire which has long since lost its vigour, an untrustworthy, exploitative, racist entity without a soul.
Just walk away, folks, the naked empire is doomed by its complicity with oppression, it has little to offer but more oppression.
Ali Abunimah on Al Jazeera English 20/5/11:
“peace process is dead, two state solution is dead, buried today, not for the first time’ @avinunu on @ajenglish
‘nothing is enough for nutanyahoo, nothing is enough for israel, time for sanctions & BDS’ @avinunu on @AJEnglish
the world’s superpower has no intention of bringing Israel to heel; Israeli intransigence is what is staying in the way of peace.’ @avinunu
?’US is really not going to stand up for itself and certainly not for the Palestinians.’ @avinunu on @AJEnglish
‘The US-supported repression in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and in the United Arab Emirates goes hand in hand with the Euro-American-Qatari intervention in Libya to safeguard the oil wells for Western companies once a new government is in place.
While it is true that revolutionaries make their own history, as Karl Marx famously put it, “they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.”
Guarding against the co-optation of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions is the hope of all Arabs today.
The question is, will the international community finance a military takeover in Egypt despite massive public support for a democratic, civilian-run government?
Egypt has officially requested financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund to meet an expected $10 billion to $12 billion funding shortfall between now and June 2012, an IMF official said Thursday. “We are negotiating with IMF for loans of between $3-4 billion and with World Bank for about $2.2 billion,” Finance Minister Samir Redwan said.
If these loans are granted, Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will have been given a giant green light to dismiss Egyptians’ grievances and continue to be a ruthless, controlling army instead of a loyal army.
The second wave of Egyptian Revolution is already scheduled for May 27.’
‘People are blaming the revolution for new oil crises despite this is not the first time it happens , in fact some people tend to forget in the past few years of Mubarak we have even more worse crises. Where was the revolution when people were actually killing each other to get a loaf of bread during the time of Mubarak !?’
@amities the game plan is always to keep the region from unifying and thus alienating control of the resources
RT @avinunu: The best Marshall Plan would be an orderly US withdrawal from other peoples’ countries and business. #mespeech
Just say “NO” to yankee dollars – the interest never goes away & they take the farm as well
Never trust a smiling imperialist with tankloads of cash
RT @Henry_Kissinger: Preview of Obama’s speech: We support freedom in Iran, Libya & Israel but not in Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi, Yemen & Palestine. Got it? V @avinunu
RT @ANagdi: People demand the #SCAF to turn down the #USA aid. #Jan25 #TahrirTv #ArabSpring #May27 #Egypt #MEspeech @BarackObama @YosriFouda
Hillary Shillary dress matches the Israeli flag nicely #mespeech
Protests to politics, Hillary? you mean that, that protests aren’t political??? #mespeech
Obama: square by square, town by town, country by country, … is he a real estate agent? #mespeech
Accurate spotting there mate 🙂 RT @JNewsLondon: he’s quoting Qaddafi’s ‘zenga zenga’ – I wonder if he realizes #mespeech
RT @hocinedim: Well done Obama, not mentioning #Bahrain and #Yemen. That’s not obvious and completely transparent. #mespeech
broaden our approach, mutual interests, mutual respect … stability, fault lines – newspeak #mespeech
RT @LowkeyMusic1: The eloquent voice of an empire in decline.. #mespeech
focus the world as it should be … with humility #newspeak #mespeech
universal rights, peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, right to choose your own leaders l… bye bye saudi dictators? #mespeech
Libya … well, fk me dead, the rebels took up arms too, obama … which violence do you oppose again? #mespeech
The syrian govt does what the israeli govt does too – why only criticise syria, Obama?? eh eh ?? #mespeech
Obama is neocolonising history #mespeech
RT @kungfujew18: “If you take the risks” to reach democracy “the US will support you” — and in Palestine? #MEspeech
Politics alone has not put protesters into the streets? #orientalism #mespeech
RT @HybridStates Obama’s “tough talk” to Israel is essentially a national blow-job. #mehspeech hahahaaa
RT @hocinedim: If anyone still thought that the peace process and 2-state solution were alive Obama quashed those hopes. #mespeech
RT @JNewsLondon: Time for the region to take the lead. Time for Arabs to stand for justice. #MEspeech
RT @avinunu: Obama: “All men are created equal” and “recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” Huh? WTF? #mespeech
RT @avinunu: How is Obama’s #mespeech different from Bush’s Freedom Agenda? Oh yeah, it isn’t.
RT @hocinedim: Now Obama made it clear that the US continues to be an counter-revolutionary force, can his Arab cheerleaders STFU? #mespeech
RT @Ultra_Bravo: if US supports 1967 borders, why is it opposing palestine’s declaration of state at the UN? #MEspeech #thingsthatdontmakesense
RT @Remroum: Dear #Obama: check out this Israeli “hate & violence” rt @theimeu Butt of a Rifle in His Face: http://bit.ly/larsBK
RT @sahoura: Obama mentioned “delegitimization” more than international law #Palestine #mespeech via @benabyad
RT @benabyad: “moving forwrd on basis of territory/security = foundation 4 resolving other issues” Obama endorsed Lieberman’s “interim” plan
RT @rowanahmed: dear supreme council of the armedforces,we have had enough from and if u didn’t already notice all Egyptians hate u so may u plz leave #scaf
believe Jews are a foreign imprint on the Middle East and are destined to be replaced by Palestinians, and a similar proportion believe that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state.
Among Arabs, 71% said they blamed Jews for the hardships suffered by Palestinians during and after the “Nakba” in 1948. The survey also found that the percentage of Arabs taking part in “Nakba Day” commemorations rose from 12.9% in 2003 to 36.1% in 2010. In addition, 37.8% of Arabs polled in the survey said they didn’t believe that millions of Jews had been the victims of a campaign of genocide waged by Nazi Germany.
Among Jewish respondents, 57.7% said they didn’t believe that a disaster of any sort happened to the Palestinians in 1948, and 68.1% expressed their opposition to public Nakba commemorations.
Also, 66.8% said the Palestinians bore the blunt of the blame for the continued conflict between Jews and Arabs.
Among Jewish respondents, 32.6% said they supported a cancellation of the voting rights of Arab citizens, and 16.5% said they were against the rights of an Arab minority to live in Israel.’
From Tunisia, to Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, people are rising up against the waning US empire’s puppet dictators while the US pays begrudging lip service to their struggle or like Biden, sacrifices the democratic aspirations of Egyptians to Israel and US geopolitical scheming (he means resources and militarisation). The price, once again for empire, is worth it? After all, these are only brown people who happen to be living where the resources which the US covets are situated. Several patronising US blogocrats of various shades of white supremacy have expressed less than admirable support for the courageous Egyptian people – surely these annoying foreign brown people should wait until the empire tells them it is convenient for them to pursue regime change, the government leaders they acquire after the revolution may be even more unappealing than their current torturous US allied villains. For neocon Laurent Murawiec afficionados, the dream of Egypt being the ‘prize’ for empire is surely now a nightmare.
Later, @PJCrowley tweeted “We are concerned that communication services, including the Internet, social media and even this #tweet, are being blocked in #Egypt.” #
The people’s demonstrations express heartfelt grassroots impatience to be rid of oppression – an impetus echoed also by Iranians attempting to dislodge their current repressive nexus. In Egypt,
At least four persons have died so far, 600 have been arrested and many more injured. Protests are flaring up in Cairo, 6th of October City, Suez, Mahalla al-Kubra and Alexandria.
“Young people are standing in the way of heavily armed armored vehicles and stopping them. People are genuinely frustrated,” Khaled al-Balashy, editor-in-chief of al-Badil newspaper told IPS.
“That was the first time I see people literally sacrificing their lives in face of police brutality,” al-Balashy said. “They think nothing worse could happen to them. This is unprecedented. And the changes will be equally unprecedented. It is a matter of time.”
Diaa Rashwan, an analyst with the semi-official al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies noted that the protests are now calling for regime change, not for the usual government benefits or reduction in food prices.
… the administration at least twice threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority if elections were called and anyone other than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad remained in power.
And it actively works with Israeli and Palestinian security services to deny the democratic will of Palestinians.
What is clear, then, is that Obama not only prefers the status quo, but the United States will actively subvert democracy in order to ensure that governments that will follow its policies remain in power.
If the administration has taken such an anti-democratic line with Palestinians, imagine how it must feel about the protests that have just exploded in Egypt, where substantive democratic change and a truly representative government would no doubt be far less amenable to US policies and strategic objectives regarding Israel and the war on terror than is Mubarak’s.
Faced with the overwhelming calumny and injustice of its oppressors evidenced in the Palestine Papers, dispossessed Palestinians are steadfast, continuing to insist on their rights.
For Amar al-Masaid, 28, history was something he lived with every day. “Our country was taken by force,” he said, amid jumbo boxes of cornflakes, tins of spam and chocolate Santa Clauses in his family’s shop. “They invaded us. They are a colonial power. We will never make any compromise. We will never sell our land. It would be better to stay with the Jews under occupation that give up our rights.”
His family had fled from Deir Aban in 1948; his father still has the deeds to the land they lost. “If you ask a little baby in these camps where their home is, they will answer you,” he said.
On cue, seven-year-old Dahoud and his sister Ranim, five, arrived to buy dried coconut, sent by their mother. Where did they come from? “Palestine,” said the boy; his sister whispered “Al-Maliha,” an Arab village south of Jerusalem until 1948, now home to a huge Israeli shopping mall and sports stadium.
According al-Masaid, the refugees live in a prison. Look around you, he said gesturing at the wall looming a couple of hundred yards away.
Nearby, 63-year-old Mousa al-Masaid, wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh, was passionately dismissive about the recent disclosures of negotiations. “I don’t care what they say on al-Jazeera,” he said. “All I care about is going back to my homeland. You want me to give up my land for peace? To hell with peace! I would rather live under the rule of monkeys than give up my land for peace.”
The Palestinian negotiators did not represent him, he said, and had no right to bargain away his homeland on his behalf.
The offices of the Palestinian ambassador to the UK have been occupied by a group of students who are demanding new Palestinian national council elections.
At 1pm today, around a dozen Palestinian students from a number of British universities arrived at the Palestinian general delegation to the UK in Hammersmith, west London.
Although they had made an appointment to see the ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, they arrived in large numbers and with computers and banners.
A spokesman for the students said they had been moved to stage a peaceful sit-in by the release of leaked Palestinian papers over the last few days.
“The documents confirmed what we had known all along — that they are out of touch with the people,” the spokesman said.
As well as calling for new elections, the students — from Oxford, SOAS, LSE, City and Westminster universities — are demanding a more inclusive political process that reflects and engages all Palestinians.
“We are ready to stay as long as necessary until our message has been received and understood,” he said.
The ambassador, whose office has been occupied, has asked the students to leave the room but has told them they are welcome to remain in the building.
“They told me they wanted to hold a sit-in in my office. I told them: ‘You’re welcome. This is your embassy. This is your home’,” he said.
Hassassian also said he had agreed to pass their demands on to the Palestinian government, but needed his office back if he was to relay them.
“We are being very hospitable and we hope that they respect our hospitality,” he said.
Two Metropolitan police officers entered the embassy a little after 4pm, and chatted to the ambassador and protesters.
The Palestinian students have issued a demand for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to be restored “as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.
A question from the audience after Obama’s poor SCOTUS speech reveals Obama has a shocking ignorance of the history of the Middle East and transparent double standards when it comes to the protection of the human rights of the stateless, defenceless Palestinian people. Has the Middle East been plaguing itself? He is a vapid tool of the Israel lobby.
The full transcript of Obama’s woeful answer is here.